Alexander Skarsgard Currently Filming “Straw Dogs”

September 4, 2009 by  

Alexander SkarsgardTrue Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard has begun filming one of his darkest roles yet as Charlie Venner, in the Hollywood remake of the 1971 classic Sam Peckinpah film “Straw Dogs.”  The original film was controversial in its day for its gross amount of violence, misogynistic treatment of women and the moral ambiguity of all its characters.

In the original film, David and Amy return to her hometown in Cornwall, England so that David can focus on his work in astrophysics. They hire local builders, which include Amy’s ex-beau Charlie, to renovate their garage. Amy is a terminal flirt and as David ignores her for his work, she increasingly strikes out at David by being overtly sexual in front of the builders. As the builders become more aggressive toward the couple, David avoids conflict at every turn until it culminates into a brutal showdown. The movie scored massive amounts of criticism due to the same year release as other violent films, such as “A Clockwork Orange” and “Dirty Harry”, as well as from feminist groups who protested the prolonged scenes of sexual violence.  The movie was notoriously banned in the 1980’s in the United Kingdom, but was finally certified for DVD distribution in 2002.

In the remake directed by Rod Lurie, Alexander Skarsgards’s character Charlie is a home town hero: a former high school quarterback whose dreams of playing pro football were cut short after his first year in college due to a damaged knee. He settles back into life at home as a carpenter and is hired to renovate the house of his ex-girlfriend Amy (played by Kate Bosworth) when she returns home from her Hollywood life with her screenwriter husband David (played by James Marsden). Charlie sees reclaiming his ex-girlfriend as a way of reclaiming his former glory days, and has no respect for her seemingly wimpy husband. The remake will establish more of a past history between Amy and Charlie, as well as develop more of a love triangle relationship between the three main characters.

The remake of “Straw Dogs” has already generated controversy; most critics don’t see how the film could be improved upon or the reason for remaking such a violent film, though the casting of Alexander Skarsgard as Charlie Venner has quelled some of the more vitriolic criticism from the cinephile circles. Rod Lurie, who directed the critically acclaimed “The Contender” and the television show “Commander in Chief” with Geena Davis, said,

“What I really want to do is make a movie about what it means to be a bully, how easy it is to become a bully and how decency is defined I think by not being a bully when you have the opportunity to be one.”

Rod Lurie intends to take a different direction with the film’s most controversial scene, which he felt ruined the film, as well as how the movie ends. Alexander says,

“That movie was so good that there isn’t any real point in making a clean-cut re-make.”

In preparation for the role, Alexander is working hard to get the Mississippi dialect down. He says

“I have a dialect coach to get the right “twang.” The movie will take place in Mississippi. I am a hillbilly and speak with an accent but I have been to the university for a year or so and gotten rid of the worst part.”

He also listens to country music to help improve his accent,

“but sometimes it gets painful, some songs are really bad…”

Alexander also went through weight training preparation prior to the film, as the director wanted a more visual difference between the screenwriter and ex-athlete Charlie.  He says,

“I put on about 17 lbs before filming. But I am built rather lightly, so I will never turn into a real muscle man.”

The filming of “Straw Dogs” will continue in and around Shreveport for the next couple of months.  The film has signed on James Woods (“Shark”), Dominic Purcell (“Prison Break”), Billy Lush (“Generation Kill”), and Willa Holland (“The O.C.”), and is scheduled for release on Feb. 25, 2011.

Alexander Skarsgard

More photos from the recent “Straw Dogs” photoshoot can be found here

Sources: TT Spektra (Skarsgardnews translation)


Dagens Nyheter (Skarsgardnews translation)

(Photo credit: Chris Maluzynsk/Ohnotheydidnt)